Welsh Government outlines support for 'desperately worried' businesses during covid fire-break

The Welsh Government has outlined the financial help available to 'desperately worried' businesses forced to close during the two-week national lockdown period.

Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and minister for European transition, explained some of the measures open to businesses in Wales in addition to the wage support schemes available from the UK Government.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference, the minister said: "This has been an incredibly difficult year for businesses in Wales. A great many are desperately worried about what the immediate and longer-term future holds."

Businesses across Wales have been forced to close their doors for a fortnight. Credit: PA Images

Mr Miles confirmed that the Economic Resilience Fund will be extended for eligible businesses. This includes:

  • £300m available to support businesses in Wales, in addition to the wage support schemes available from the UK Government. Applications will be via the Business Wales website and further support can be found there.

  • Payments of £1,000 for all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief occupying a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

  • Payments of up to £5,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close and occupy a property with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £50,000.

  • A discretionary £2,000 top-up grant for businesses closed by the fire-break lockdown.

  • A further discretionary £1,000 grant for businesses affected by the local restrictions for 21 days or more before the start of the fire-break.

The streets of Wales' major cities are quiet as people are urged to stay at home. Credit: PA Images

An extra £10m has also been made available to support jobs and people during the fire-break.

Mr Miles said this will increase the £20m discretionary fund to £25m, to support businesses to retain workers at risk of falling through the gaps in support.

The minister added that it will support the Discretionary Assistance Fund, which provides grants to people in need of urgent help, including those waiting for benefit payments and those in employment who are facing hardship.

Public Health Wales yesterday saw the highest daily number of coronavirus cases recorded during the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

Yesterday, Public Health Wales confirmed a further 1,207 cases of coronavirus – the highest daily number recorded during the pandemic.

This figure only reflects positive tests and the real number will be much higher.

Mr Miles continued: "These figures underline why we need this fire-break to break the cycle of transmission and bring the virus under control.

"This fire-break is a short, sharp shock to the virus – we have designed it to be as short as possible but that means the measures we are taking have to be deep to be effective.

"We are asking everyone to weather some short-term pain over this two-week period for our collective, maximum long-term gain."

The fire-break will end on 9 November.